Solon to gov’t: Boost public confidence in vaccine; deploy social workers
MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City 5th District Rep. Alfred Vargas urged the national government to utilize the services of social workers in population vaccination drive saying these government workers know and can convince people to participate in getting anti-Covid shots.
“They know their communities and can convince people in their area to participate in the Covid vaccination process,” the lawmaker said.
Vargas, chair of the House Social Services Committee, the impact of social workers to the people around them could be a big difference for a successful vaccination program.
Across the nation, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) alone deploys more than 10,000 social workers.
He said these workers can help the Department of Health (DOH) and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. in communicating to the people the value and acceptance of vaccination against the coronavirus on a grass roots level.
Vaccine confidence is currently at its lowest in the Philippines after the Dengvaxia hysteria in 2017, which forced a lot of people to lose trust in vaccines.
Dr. Lulu Bravo, executive director of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, aired concerns that the country may not be ready yet for COVID-19 vaccination as the public is hesitant and there needs to be more to be done to convince them.
This is supported by data from OCTA Research that conducted a survey showing that in Metro Manila, a Covid hot spot, only 25% are willing to be vaccinated, 28% would not want to be vaccinated at all and a large proportion of 47% remains undecided.
“Let us harness the full potential of the social workers,” Vargas said, “as they are highly credible individuals respected and accepted by their communities.”
He has called for a meeting with the DSWD and NGO’s like the Philippine Association of Social Workers (PASWI) to map out plans on how the organizations can contribute and actively assist with the National vaccination program.
Vargas also called on Galvez to declare social workers nationwide as essential frontliners in the fight against Covid-19.
He also called on Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, who handles the government agency that controls PTV4, to come out with a campaign that will help Filipinos accept the benefits of Covid vaccines.
As for his district in Quezon City, Vargas said he is working closely with local officials to improve vaccine acceptance and the implementation of neighborhood information programs that will help the national government in the seamless implementation of the Covid vaccines.
“We need to convince our people that being vaccinated is the best action to regain a sense of normalcy. This is our best path to recovery,” Vargas said.
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